5 tips to negotiate a pay rise


Photo by Tim Gouw on Unsplash

What you’re paid vs what you’re worth

It’s probably time we tackle the fun subject of asking for a pay rise at work. Did I say fun? I meant awkward. But the key to being successful is to get over that awkwardness. Instead of feeling like you are just asking for money, look at it in a different light. You aren’t just walking in and asking for money, you are participating in a negotiation over what you’re worth the the company and the value you bring. If you leave behind the shackles of awkwardness about asking for money, and change how you view the situation then you will be better equipped mentally to succeed in your negotiations. With that out of the way lets move forward.

5 tips to negotiate a pay rise

(1) Be worth it

This should go without saying but if you are going to negotiate a pay rise, you need to make sure you are worth a pay rise. Which isn’t a hard prerequisite to meet. Make sure there is an intrinsic value that you add to the company such as great team leading, new innovations that you’ve brought to the company or saved the company some money in one way or another. There are other things you can do but the point is if you being employed ads value to the company then you’re worth it, and you can go and ask for the pay rise. Don’t ask for a pay rise if you don’t do anything special. If you just come to work, do your job, clock off at the end and repeat, then you might need to change your mindset and work ethic before asking for more money.

(2) Time and Place

There is a correct time and place to be asking for a pay rise and that isn’t at the Christmas party after a few too many shots. In terms of specific times of the year, the best time to ask for a pay rise is after the start of the new financial year and if you’re privy to the information, after the company budget has been written. Generally, companies will have money put aside in the budget to accommodate things like pay rises and bonuses. By getting in at the right time, you’re a head of everyone else in your office that wants a pay rise and you also get to set the bar for what value you provide to the company. You want to talk to your HR manager ahead of time and just ask if they can schedual you in for a meeting about your future within the company. It might not be that very day, but its a more friendly way to approach the situation than just barging into their office and demanding a pay rise.

(3) Start with your achievements

It’s okay to brag if you do it politely. Now is when you can bring up how much money you have saved the company, efficiency changes you have made and customer deals you have closed or successful marketing campaigns you’ve run. This is where you can lay it all out on the table and prove to the company just how valuable of an employee you are. Chances are this is already stuff they’ve already recognised. By showing how much value it is to have you working for the company you are more likely to get a pay rise.

(4) Know your numbers

Before you go into the negotiation, it’s imperative that you know exactly what you are asking for. Don’t walk in and say, “I dunno, maybe $1 or $2 an hour extra.” Not only is it incredibly unprofessional, it also gives your employer the upper hand and your not here to give them the upper hand, you’re there to get what you want. Know the specifics right down to the cent value of what sort of pay rise you are after. Helpful free tools like Payscale can give you accurate figures about the market value of your job as well as tell you the lowest amount being paid for it, the highest amount being paid and the median wage rate for other people in the country or area that have the same job as you. If your job is worth $22.04 an hour don’t negotiate for $22.00, negotiate for the full $22.04, even if that means you have to compromise to a lower amount which is a very likely possibility. You need to be the one to make the first offer. This is a negotiation and you need to establish your footing. Never let them make the first offer.

(5) Remember that this is a negotiation

It’s not a one sided conversation so don’t treat it like one. This is a negotiation where you want something and the person you are negotiating with wants something. Just like how they are going to need to make compromises with you, there are times that you are going to need to make compromises with them. You might argue for $25 an hour and they offer you $23. You could compromise by accepting $23 an hour and a change in working times or you can accept $23 on the condition that after 2 quarters there is a review that starts at $24. There are multiple different compromises that you can make but that’s the whole idea of negotiation. You are trying to get the best for you and they are trying to get the best for them.

Regardless of the outcome

Make sure to remain professional and if you don’t end up securing a pay rise. Ask the right questions. “What goals should I meet to become eligible for a pay rise?” “Is there anything within my job that I could be doing to achieve better results.” The answer no is not a be all and end all. It’s just a hurdle that needs to be jumped and you can figure out how to do just that.

Just don’t be afraid to ask. The worst thing that can happen is they can say no. Not much risk for a high reward if you ask me. If you don’t ask you don’t receive so, just ask.

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